In my position as a career law-enforcement officer I have heard both sides of the gun-control issue ad nausea. One of the things that annoys me the most is that rarely do people know what the hell they're talking about. By the end of this short rant I promise I will not make things any clearer to either side because I, like most people, don't know what the hell I'm talking about.
The most frequent question I get is if I think firearms are good choice for self-defense. I can only answer this question, like I would any firearms question, from my experience and not through national statistics. Although I think in this case I will be supported by statistics. The chances of someone being shot by accident with your gun are much, much greater than the chances of you using it effectively for self-defense. That's just the way life is. With kids running in and out of the house, burglaries and just plain panic, guns are not a good choice for personal self-defense. I have had some of my NRA friends accurately state that they cannot expect the police to be everywhere at once to protect them. That is true. Last week, HBO helped me with the blog on the show Entourage where the gang faces this exact question. And they answer it.
On the flipside, the legal ownership of firearms does not translate into higher violent crime. End of story. Years ago I was opposed to Florida's concealed weapons law, adamant that the streets would turn into a Wild West. I have to admit, with more than twenty years hindsight, the weapons policies of Florida have not contributed to violent crime in any way. In fact, Florida's violent crime has decreased consistently over that time period. One need look no further than New York City, where handguns are outlawed, to see that those laws did not curtail criminals from using firearms. Once again, I was helped this week on the blog when a buddy of mine named Gus called, worried he had failed to update his address on an ATF form. A law-abiding citizen like Gus has no idea how few criminals are really prosecuted. Gun laws generally only affect people already following the gun laws.
The final statement that I often hear is, “What would America be without firearms?" The best answer I've ever heard to that was from my friend Fred Rea, known in the MWA ranks as “Fred the gun guy”. When someone pondered in front of him what would America be without firearms, he calmly looked at him and said, "Scotland." It is a fact that firearms helped us wiggle out from under the thumb of a tyrant. The English government had ignored repeated pleas by colonists who sought legal redress. America found it’s freedom at the point of a gun.
I'm sorry but I disagree with the disarming of America because of the acts of a few. If someone breaks the law with a firearm they should be crushed by the legal system. It is extremely rare to hear of a legal gun owner committing a crime with a gun. I'm not saying that people don't go crazy. But like with most things, firearms must be looked at on an individual basis.
I am not a big gun owner. I possess a couple of handguns personally. I am issued other weapons and keep track of all of them very carefully. I follow the gun debate and try to bite my tongue while one side or the other gets carried away with what they believe is the only, absolute truth. No one likes to see gun violence. No one is arguing in favor of it. But the issue is much more complex. I don't want to hear someone who's never fired a weapon tell me that there should be no guns allowed in private hands. Just like I don't want to hear a gun nut tell me that the government's ultimate plan is to take away all their guns. That is incorrect. I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but I don't believe anyone is going to take away all of the guns.
The following video clip shows what a smart gun owner can do with the right determination.
Teaching firearm saftey
I always like your comments but whatever is said today please keep it civil.